Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Lunch Week 29: Turkey Meatballs with Roasted Cauliflower

So every Sunday, I head over to the kitchen to whip up a big batch of food for lunch next week. Yes, I brown bag. And I almost always do it, unless I become too busy to even buy cold cuts from the deli. I do it for several reasons being health, finance, and laziness. Now, you may think that spending hours on a day off to prep and cook five meals at once is hardly lazy. But let me remind you, I hate it when the time comes to decide what to eat for lunch every day. I work in Midtown so the choices are endless. My problem, the more choices, the harder it is for me. So it's much easier for me to have my lunch ready and already decided. So my lunch for the week: Turkey Meatballs with Roasted Cauliflower This recipe is really easy to make and there isn't any cooking involved. Everything goes into the oven until they're done. First the main ingredients for the meatballs: spinach, onions, and ground turkey. I love all beef meatballs but I wanted to go healthier. A recent health test proved that I needed to decrease my saturated fat intake (animal fat/lard). That doesn't mean I have to uproot my diet. I just need to make small changes here and here. It's easy to do and I don't have to sacrifice flavor. Besides, weekends are best used without food restrictions. It also helps to hit the gym a little harder these days. Fall and winter aren't best spent with a layer of blubber, especially on me. But, I digress. A quick chop and dice of the onion. Then sauteed in a pan with oil, salt, and pepper until golden brown. Add the cooked onions to the defrosted frozen spinach and turkey. Mix well together and add your seasonings. I used dried basil, thyme, oregano, red pepper flakes, garlic powder (I forgot to saute chopped garlic), salt, pepper, plain bread crumbs, and eggs. You want the mixture to have some kind of binding action but still remain quite moist. Form the meat into medium sized balls. Try to make each and every one the same size for even cooking. Place onto oiled sheet pan. Next some cauliflower. Remove the stem and separate the florets. Onto a oiled sheet pan with salt, oil, and a nice shaving of cheese. Usually it's Parmesiano but I like the taste of Pecorino Romano instead. Everything goes into a 375 degree oven. Cauliflower on the upper third rack and meatballs on lower third. The vegetables only take about 30 minutes until gold brown and soft. Once the cauliflower is ready, move the meatballs onto the upper rack and continue to bake for another 15 minutes until browned. For safety measure, I used an instant thermometer to check the internal temperature. If it reads 180 degrees, it's safely cooked. The meatballs turned out really soft and very flavorful. This was a happy surprise. I was worried about the meat drying out and becoming hard. They came out succulent and delicious. The cauliflower was kind of a disappointment though. It was mostly bland. Neither the salt nor cheese added any depth to it. I was thinking that maybe the cheaper brand of cheese I purchased was the culprit. Next time, more salt and more (better) cheese. Though the texture of the cauliflower was good and worked well with the soft meatballs.

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